There are those nights where we search for comfort food… the type of culinary delights from the Starry Kitchen, an entrepreneurial venture from two people whose main goal is to share good food with good people. Once or twice a week, Wyn & Thi Tran turn their small NoHo apartment into a mecca for home cooked food served with a homegrown attitude. With order filled post-its lining the kitchen cabinet, Wyn & Thi serve food that tastes fantastic, with the simple desire that people enjoy the food. And with a bunch of regulars who come back every week (many of whom I met tonight), it seems that the Starry Kitchen is becoming an addicitve habit for many.
Tonight, Short Ribs were on the menu, and presented in 3 spectacular packages: tacos, burritos, or a sandwich. With Korean BBQ, Taco Trucks, and street food becoming the latest trend in the L.A. food scene, it was a novel concept to get good food, at a good price, and not have to wait in line for an hour plus on somebody’s front lawn just to get dinner. I started with the burrito, which was fantastic, and stuffed with short rib, kimchi fried rice, cabbage, carrots, and cilantro. The burrito had wonderful flavor, with a nice smokiness coming from the short rib, combined with a spicy kimchi sticky fried rice and nice hint of cilantro for some depth and balance. The cabbage and carrots gave the burrito some great crunch and provided a wonderful texture balance to the rest of the ingredients.
Up next was a pair of short rib tacos, served on crispy corn tortillas and no kimchi fried rice, the tacos had an identity all of their own, and with a garnish of lime, provided a wonderful balance of citrus and smoke. If done wrong, grilled short rib can come out charred and overcrispy, but this meat had a tenderness that oozed natural juices that I was licking off my fingers by the end of the dish. With a 3 hour service window, people have to get their food early, as the Starry Kitchen feeds the masses until their supply runs out.
Although I left the comfort of my friends’ kitchen before closing time, there was a line of people waiting for food, while Wyn took orders and Thi kept serving up delicious food. It’s a 2-person operation, and a complete team effort. Both Wyn & Thi just seem to love sharing their food with their customers, and you can tell there is some special emotion put into each and every bite. With a small box on the table requesting donations, customers respectfully oblige, and seem happy to contribute to helping Wyn & Thi keep this operation afloat. The coolest thing about the Starry Kitchen is that the menu is always changing. Although the packaging is always the same (burritos, tacos, or sandwiches), the ingredients always change, and Thi comes up with an array of Pan-Asian cuisine that keeps people coming back for more. Whether it’s Sundays from 12pm-3pm, or select weeknights from 6pm-9pm, the Starry Kitchen has tapped into why people love home cooked food, and it seems people will keep coming back for more. Before the dinner rush, Thi had some time to sit down with Wyn and I and sample her own creation. Thi, who began this business after being laid off from her job, has found something that truly makes her happy, and you can see it whether she’s eating it herself, or serving it to the line of people who stand outside her sliding glass door waiting for a home cooked meal. I would like to thank my friends for serving me up some amazing cuisine, and I can’t wait to see what’s on the menu for next week. Check ‘em out at www.starrykitchen.com, and tell them the Kosher Pig sent you…